A recent NIDDK study of Pima Indians in Arizona showed that babies who were breast fed were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Babies exclusively bottle-fed weighed significantly more than babies who were breast fed, an important fact considering that obesity remains a strong factor in developing diabetes. The study did not necessarily show that bottle feeding somehow causes diabetes.
Generally, women who choose to breast feed are different than women that do not. Previous studies found that affluent women are more likely to breast-feed.
Because this demographic difference exists, additional factors of child-rearing change also. Researchers noted that upbringing, diet and other environmentally-influenced aspects vary according to income, which in turn could affect the development of diabetes.
The Pima Indians are particularly prone to obesity and related problems such as diabetes. Prevalence of type 2 diabetes in young, relatively normal weight, breast-fed Pimas was still at least 10 -to 20-times higher than could be expected for those of European descent of similar age and size.